Yesterday, work on campus was going just fine when the fire alarm sounded. More annoyed than any sort of panic, as is the wont these days when the alarm sounds, everybody in the library filed outside while the grown-ups figure out exactly what triggered the alarm. You’d think I’d be happy about the reprieve from actual work, but our office is a service point, and when we’re all outside waiting out an alarm, we are unable to fulfill our duties for the rest of the campus community.
Mind you it’s not out of an intense dedication to my job; I rather not deal with the backlog afterwards when we do get let back into the library building. Obviously my feelings would be different if the building was visibly smoking or on fire, but as it’s usually the case, yesterday was only a false alarm.
Set off by someone vaping in the restroom on the fourth floor. The library building is decidedly modern in that it lacks any physical pull triggers for fire emergencies: it’s entirely predicated on detectors, which ironically they have to crank up the sensitivity because a human is unable to intervene first. Many a times now we’ve had to evacuate the building due to precisely the same scenario: the vapors from a vape pen triggering the alarm. It’s quite annoying, I have to be honest.
Not that I am against vaping or smoking; we’re a university, so everyone for the most part is a proper adult. Therefore the decisions you make - like choosing to smoke - is entirely up to you, so long as the consequences is limited to you and only you. I am not in agreement with the wholesale ban of smoking/vaping on campus with no provisions for dedicated smoking areas; people are going to smoke regardless, and I think we should provide space for them to “safely” do so without bothering the general public.
This is where I think Asia and airports are ahead of the curve: spaces feature dedicated smoking rooms where people can do there business. Even the 7-Eleven I went to in Japan had a smoking room. By allowing space for such activities, you avoid the ignominy of smokers setting off fire alarms because they have to clandestinely vape in the bathroom. I think our library building should construct and designate rooms specifically for smoking and vaping, so the rest of us won’t be interrupted from our work and studies.